I just have to speak out this morning about a news article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle this morning, "Zion Ranch mothers question CPS raid." Terri Langford reports how "beautiful" the compound is. How there are oak trees everywhere. How groomed the road is that stretches between two metal gates. How everywhere there are signs of "devotion to industry" with new crops planted. How nicely squared boulders line the rock quarry. Theirs is a "quiet life" with lovely women in pioneer dresses "with puffed long sleeves." Oh how sweet the colors of the cloth, yellow, light blue, turquoise, and dark blue. How each has long hair put up in a "beautiful upsweep." For four blissful years they lived a quiet life until...the "state descended" on them.
The women were interviewed by the press. And what do they say? When questioned about the pregnancies of the thirteen and fourteen year old girls in the compound, one of the women said, "What does 'age' mean?" Another said, "It's a choice." Another, "Everybody in America has free agency."
What is going on here? When a man has sex with a thirteen year old girl she has no choice. The last time I knew it was a crime in the US called rape. And usually the police arrest him and he goes to court where it is decided what to do with him. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly Warren Jeffs isn't just a convicted criminal, he is convicted on two counts of being an accomplice to rape because he forced a 14 year old girl into a marriage with her first cousin! And if the mothers of these children think for an instant that their daughters have a choice in this situation, they had better think twice. What thirteen year old child is going to leave the compound on her own, especially when the message preached around her is to go forth and multiply!
We need to be very aware here that a religion, no matter what it is, does not have the right to overstep the law of the US. Members may choose to, but if the members of a religion break a law, then there are consequences. And the pregnancy of all these young girls is not only distressing to me, but is more than suggestive of a pattern of male criminal behavior. The Zion Ranch is not "Little House on the Prairie."